The Psychology of Modern Mobile Advertising

Advertising is an art form. And like all art, ads require finesse and an element of humanity. People don’t want to engage with things that they don’t find relatable. This is where psychology comes into play. Modern mobile advertising needs to take a holistic approach to understanding, and gaining access to, the psyches of users.

Man viewing mobile ad on his smartphone

Mobile Users Don’t Have Long Attention Span

According to a Microsoft study, the average attention span has decreased from 12 to eight seconds since the year 2000. This correlates with the onset of mobile devices. It’s no secret that mobile users have become accustomed to the freedom, agility, and flexibility their devices provide. Therefore, it’s important for mobile advertisers to understand this when trying to build a campaign. You can’t expect mobile users to endure a lengthy, drawn out piece of content. They need something that immediately entices them.

Need to Foster Intimacy and Engagement

A huge part of mobile advertising psychology is figuring out how to create user-friendly environments. There are two qualities that are highly important to this: intimacy and engagement. Your brand’s dynamic advertising and design plans should revolve around these concepts. Intimacy builds trust. People aren’t inherently trusting of brands. So, it’s your job to give them a reason to feel something about what you’re selling. Doing so instills loyalty in your customers.

You also need to create an ad that engages people. This should be done through content, design, and implementation. In terms of content, brands should attempt to generate personal feelings. People don’t buy things that don’t click with them. A huge part of that realization for many consumers is being able to relate to the brand’s image.

Design needs to, of course, be attractive. But aesthetics isn’t the only issue. Layout should be intuitive—inviting targeted users an easy path to conversion. Design analytics can help marketers better understand how consumers are interacting with an ad.

Finally, implementation needs to have a degree of novelty. People don’t want to see more of the same thing. If you want to be memorable, your ads need to be distinct.

Engaged smartphone user

Must Reflect User in Advertising

People are always looking for themselves in their environment. As a marketer, it’s important you understand how to tap into this innate need for self-reassurance. Part of this is knowing your target audience. Not just who sees your ads—who do you want to see your ads? Is it the one-time app downloader? Or do you desire the app user who pays her premium subscription fees and engages daily?

The more specific you get with your niches, the better you will appeal to people. If you have more than one niche, it’s wise to approach them with separate, tailor-made campaigns.

User Wants to Feel in Control

There are few things more annoying than the sensation that you aren’t in control. Many people are actually petrified of this feeling. Needless to say, you need to make users feel like they’re in control when you advertise to them. One way to do this is to create ads that allow for a variety of inputs from the consumer. This will create an inherent feeling of choice that is often absent in marketing campaigns.

Timing Is Important

If you’re serious about getting conversions, you need to target people when they’re most likely to buy something. For example, someone who just bought a car online will be more likely than the average person to need car insurance at that time. This is an opportunity for car insurance providers to advertise their best rates directly to that person. Brands that can seize upon timing will find more success in generating sales.

Advertising is a lot different today than it was even a few years ago. The proliferation of analytics and data has brought marketing into a whole new quantitative realm. However, understand psychology is still key to getting the most out of your ad budget.